Spanish America has always appeared to many as the very model of the foibles and travesties of the tropics: an impressive but unsanitary wilderness peopled by a picturesquely unsound society and dominated by histrionic and savage politics. The man who, with Darío, dominated Spanish American poetry in the early twentieth century was the Peruvian Jose Santos Chocano. Chocano’s great aim was to create the kind of gorgeous lyricism and epic intonation capable of speaking poetically for the “romance” of Spanish American history, and for its rivers, jungles, prairies, and exotic populations. As a poet, however, he could make his verse swell and ring, even though, save for the best of it, he always seems to leave the reader with an uncomfortable sense of ephemeral agitation. Yet Chocano is a representative writer. Representative, that is, of the cultural fears and boasts as well as of the epiphany-like visions of fulfillment recurrent in Spanish American literature.